SAN ANTONIO – Wandering through neighborhoods around the city, loose and stray dogs can be a nuisance and even a danger, especially when they join into packs.
"Just like teenagers, they all get together and they kind of do things that they wouldn't do if they were just single," said Officer Aimee DeContreras, field manager of Animal Care Services.
Home security video from a Northwest Side neighborhood shows the potential problems packs pose. In a clip from early Sunday morning, three dogs can be seen trotting up to a stray cat before whipping it around and killing it.
"I was just in total shock that these dogs were so vicious," said homeowner Kathy Owens, who worried about what else could have happened.
"What if a child had been out there? What if these dogs had attacked a child?" she asked.
The ACS Sweeps Team works to avoid problems like that. The team, which responds to loose animal calls, serves as a sort of tactical team for ACS, and is prepared to deal with dog packs.
Working through a West Side neighborhood on Friday, the team captured two loose dogs, each on their own but apparently owned by someone. One had a collar, and the owner came out from a few doors down. The other, lassoed by the team, had a microchip.
"These just single, loose dogs can be the creation of a pack. So we're just trying to get ahead of it," DeContreras said.
The team stays busy, according to statistics provided by ACS. In the current fiscal year, from October through June, the team has:
Responded to 3,682 calls for service
Returned 313 animals to owners
Issued 7,702 citations
Impounded 1,241 animals in high-risk areas
In the case of the dog pack attack caught on Owens' camera, the Sweeps Team did not find the dogs. Though, an ACS spokeswoman said the team now had the pack on its radar.
But as with most things, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. ACS wants dog owners to keep their pets contained in the yard or on a rope, not roaming loose.
If you see a dog pack, you can report it by calling 311 with as much information as possible about the dogs and where you saw them.